Four Roses – Limited Edition Small Batch 2015 – Straight Bourbon Whiskey | 54.3% (108.6 Proof)
Sample provided by The Baddish Group
Color/Appearance: Rich and deeply amber. Looks about right for a bourbon of this age. Speaking of age, this years pinnacle of the Four Roses portfolio is a mix of a 16-year-old OBSK recipe, a 15-year-old OESK, a 14-year-old OESK and an 11-year-old OBSV. So that makes it a good amount older than last years release and about on par with the 125th Anniversary release. Also, as a big fan of the “K” yeast, this mix of Four Roses bourbons sounds about as perfect as one could hope for. Making this bourbon even more special is the fact that it is Jim Rutledge’s last official limited release. This is due to his having just retired. It pains me to even write that. Knowing Jim and his commitment to building back up of the reputation of Four Roses with quality bourbon and hard work, one can almost guarantee the quality of this fine liquid. But I don’t review on reputation. I will put all of that stuff out of my mind and just see what the glass holds. Cards fall where they may.
Nose: A blast of barrel strength power right away with deeply varnished oak and damp wood from well aged casks. Brown sugar, cherries, coco, honey, vanilla, orange peel and toffee are revealed slowly. Mature and deep, this smells like an old bourbon and in this day and age it is not a smell that is very familiar to me. There are not too many well aged bourbons that one can actually acquire. It has lots to explore but it doesn’t part with its secrets easily.
Palate: Cherries, dark chocolate covered biscuits with a nice touch of toasty grain, butterscotch, orange rind, apple crumble and worn leather. Creamy mouthfeel that you can almost chew. If you are used to simple and sweet bourbons you may be in for a shock, as this is much more on the contemplative and rugged side of things. Still, for me chewing on an old leathery bourbon as the day fades away is pure pleasure.
Finish: Roasted nuts, sandalwood, coconut and cool mint. Lingers and hangs around for so so long. Take your time between each sip or you are seriously missing something special. Plus wasting such a fine whiskey.
Overall: Explosive, multi-dimensional, and just plain delicious. Packs in so much, so efficiently. Never feels overdone. When you have access to all of the Four Roses rickhouses, and Jim’s skill at blending, amazing things can be accomplished. A fitting bourbon for Jim’s last official limited release. I do hope that I am lucky enough to acquire a full bottle of this as I would love to see how it develops across the life of the bottle. Being a small batch it has great depth and roundness while still maintaining the vibrant uniqueness of a top notch single barrel. Thank you Jim for your many years of hard work and dedication. Your commitment to Four Roses and to bourbon itself will be told forever. May the new hands at the tiller think often of you as they guide Four Roses into the future.